PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A holiday meant to recognize the laborers who keep our society functioning was celebrated this morning by local labor unions and parade attendees in downtown Peoria.
The route started on the corner of Fulton and Monroe, then went through downtown to the riverfront. Those on buses threw candy at those on the sidewalks, which led to a free-for-all amongst children and adults alike.
Among the over 100 represented labor unions were the Peoria Federation of Teachers. President Jeff Adkins-Dutro believes the parade shows the unity between different parts of the workforce.
“I think in Peoria, Labor Day is all about solidarity for the working class, I think we had a really good turnout among the teachers and other labor unions that I’ve seen marching and the bands from schools,” he said.
In addition to the parade, there was an afterparty in Riverfront Park put on by Peoria Area Community Events (PACE). Food and beverages were served, and there was also live music.
The president of PACE, Brad Pierson, said it’s important to highlight the laborers that make up the backbone of our society.
“They’re building for tomorrow, or they could also be reconstructing for tomorrow, if we didn’t have these talented people around, we wouldn’t have the buildings, the roads, the bridges that we have today,” Pierson said.
Adkins-Dutro believes the importance of the holiday is how it represents the sacrifices and hard work that went into establishing rights for workers.
“A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into creating positive, healthy working conditions for workers and this is a day to remember that, we wouldn’t have the day off and we wouldn’t have had this weekend off without labor unions so hats off to them,” Adkins-Dutro said.
Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894. It’s often referred to as the unofficial end of summer.